Road death leads to junction review call
Tuesday, 17 June 2014
FRESH calls have been made for a safety review of a notorious junction on the Newry-Warrenpoint dual carriageway following the latest fatal road accident there.
Phyllis Mackey, 78, was killed after a two-vehicle crash on Thursday afternoon.
Three other people, including Mrs Mackey's husband, were injured in the accident.
South Down MLA Karen McKevitt said six people have been killed at the junction since she was first elected in 2005 and called for an urgent safety review of the junction with all relevant agencies.
In 2007 two people died following a collision at the same junction.
The deaths prompted an immediate review of safety at the junction, which resulted in the erection of overhead lights and a ban on drivers crossing the carriageway from the Old Warrenpoint Road over to the Newry-bound carriageway.
But Mrs McKevitt, who visited the scene on Thursday, said safety precautions at the junction should be revisited.
“From that accident in 2007, there were improvements made at that junction following a co-ordinated approach from Newry and Mourne Council, the PSNI and DoE Roads Service and these improvements have been working quite well," she said.
“I'm not sure what the cause of Thursday's accident was, but I'm calling for a meeting with the relevant agencies at that junction again because six people have lost their lives here since 2005."
The SDLP MLA said she recently raised concerns about the length of the grass on the verges that run along the carriageway.
She added: "The length was a disgrace, but it has been cut since Thursday. I'll be calling a meeting where I will propose that a certain length of the carriageway is stoned so that there's no grass on the verge or either sides of the road.
“If funding has been cut back so much that they can't look after cutting grass on all our main roads, then we need to take a look at that in the Assembly and see if there is extra resources available for it.
“As well as numerous fatalities, I have lost count of the number of serious accidents here that didn't result in a loss of life. The banning of the right hand turn was a definite improvement, but I think we need to once again look at putting a slip road there because something needs to be done to stop these accidents repeatedly happening.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the lady that lost her life and those who were injured in the accident."
A spokesperson for the Department for Regional Development (DRD) would not comment on whether the department would be reviewing safety arrangements at the junction.
She said: "This tragic incident is the subject of an ongoing police investigation and it would be inappropriate for the department or anyone else to speculate regarding the cause of the collision. Anyone with any information that they consider may be helpful to the police inquiry should contact them directly."
Officers investigating this collision want to hear from witnesses and can be contacted at the Collision Investigation Unit by calling the non-emergency number 101.
Meanwhile, Mrs Mackey's funeral service took place at St Catherine's Dominican on Sunday followed by burial at Monkshill Cemetery.
She was the second person from Newry to die in a road accident this month.
Wilfred Vaughan Chambers died after his mobility scooter was hit by a car on the Rathfriland Road on June 3.
Send to a friend
Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.